There couldn’t have been a better timing for the Madras High Court to raise questions on the mysterious conditions under which former Tamil Nadu chief minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam head, J Jayalalithaa passed away earlier this month.

A file image of new AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala with J Jayalalithaa's body. PTI

A file image of new AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala with J Jayalalithaa’s body. PTI

On the day the AIADMK appointed Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala as the next general secretary of the party, a post held by Jayalalithaa before her death, the high court observed that there are many unanswered questions surrounding her death and that the details of it should be made public.

Expressing doubts over the circumstances leading to death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, a Madras High Court judge indicated that he may order exhumation of the body after a plea before the court sought a probe by an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee.

According to ANI, Justice Vaidyalingam, who was heading a two-judge vacation bench, pointed at the doubts raised by the media and said that the mysterious conditions under which she died should be probed.

His observations came when the bench, also comprising Justice V Parthiban, was hearing the PIL filed by an AIADMK worker PA Joseph seeking an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa.

“After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt,” Justice Vaidyalingam remarked adding, “”One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of late  Chief Minister MGR, video was released,” Justice Vaidyanathan said.

When a special mention was made before the bench by senior counsel KM Vijayan who argued on the plea, Advocate General Muthukumaraswamy said there is no mystery in the death.
Justice Vaidyanathan asked the AG, “What is that you say. Right to live is a Fundamental Right. Public should know what has happened.” “Even relations were not allowed to see and they are also
not before the court now. I personally find in case if I have doubt I may order exhumation of the body of deceased and you have not told anything when she was alive,” the judge said.

Turning to counsel J Madanagopala Rao, who appeared on behalf of Union Government, the Judge said: “You went there. You have not reported anything. You know everything. But not reported anything for the reasons best known to you. You kept quiet.” The bench said, “We also saw in newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead.”

“At least after her death now, the truth should be revealed,” the bench added.

The bench then recorded the acceptance of notice by counsel for Union Government on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries of Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and CBI and posted the matter for further hearing to 9 January.

According to CNN-News18, the high court judge also asked why her body was buried and not exhumed. The bench, it said, has issued a notice to the prime minister, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa was being treated regarding the same.

The PIL had sought a commission comprising retired Supreme Court judges to look into “questionable incidents”, including Jayalalithaa’s sudden hospitalisation, reported recovery and the cardiac arrest resulting in her death on 5 December.

The PIL listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s admission to Apollo Hospitals here on 22 September and claimed that the “secrecy” preceding her death gave rise to “grave doubts” in the minds of the people.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 12:23 IST

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Madras High Court judge raises doubts on Jayalalithaa’s death, wants health records made public